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scopeofzoology

diversity of execution

diversity of execution is the lesson of comparative anatomy. These differences have resulted in many kinds of habitat requirements and many different ways of obtaining food. As a result, the student finds that all kinds of organisms are interdependent in a series of nutritive links (predator-prey, host-parasite) and that if this were not so, life on this planet would have ceased long ago. Furthermore, the student finds that animals can be grouped into several large groups, the members of each group being obviously very much alike. But the extent of the relationship reaches beyond that found within these large groups - relationships can be seen ​between​ the large groups. Thus, the student will be introduced to the principle of organic evolution. Probably no other biological generalisation has had more effect on man's thinking than this one. Yet no person can intelligently understand and discuss the validity and implications of this concept without a broad sound base in zoology. There can be little doubt that Darwin initiated an intellectual revolution in 1859 by publishing the Origin of Species. Historians are aware that many factors were responsible for the general public reaction to this book. However, two reasons for the reaction seem outstanding. First of all, the concept of evolution emerged as being in direct opposition to the literal interpretation of the biblical account of Creation. The second factor and one which was more fully emphasised in a later book by Darwin, 'The Descent of Man', was that man had non-human ancestors, so reducing his biological nature to the level of other higher animals. Today, one only occasionally encounters a person who refuses to accept the animal nature of man. The evidence is held secure within zoology, where it may be examined by students without prejudice. Zoology, therefore, stresses man's close genetic kinship with other animals and sets him at one with Nature. 36

It is because man is an integral part of nature that he cannot, in fact, conserve nature. The consequences of everything we do from painting a house to emptying sewage into the ocean is a part of nature. Man only stands apart from Nature in this respect, in that he can observe the whole of the natural world at a particular stage and say that certain species or natural features are worth preserving for aesthetic or practical reasons, or for the addition of knowledge which can be made from their study. The integration of man with nature and the demonstration of purpose and design in living things has resulted in zoology being at the centre of the most profound revolution in man's outlook on nature in the history of modern civilisation. It also incidentally places zoologists at the centre of the modern conservation movement. During his time as an undergraduate, it is particularly important that the student should not cut himself off from fields other than his own. Furthermore, it is very desirable that the student, in seeking a broad generalised education, should attempt to relate his several studies to each other, regardless of how much he may specialise later. Zoology holds the key to a number of inter-disciplinary doors, not least to those which open into the behavioural and social sciences. Man is a social organism; he lives in groups. In attempting to understand the behaviour and interrelationships of men, psychologists and sociologists are gathering information from observation and experimentation. Some understanding of the nervous system, glands and other organs is necessary for the study of psychology. Some knowledge of the laws of inheritance and the principles of ecology is important for studies in sociology. Without question most inherited differences among human beings are those that produce effects of extremely low adaptive significance. Nevertheless, the mere fact that such small differences in heredity exist in abundance is of the greatest importance in human affairs. They are the basis for divisions within the human population which are made on the grounds of differences 37

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